PETT Study

PTSD Experimental Treatment Trial (PETT): Comparing two talking therapies for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in UK military veterans

**All aspects of the PETT Study will be online by email, telephone or video conference during the COVID-19 pandemic**

Please view this short animation to learn more about the PETT Study:

If you are interested in receiving more information or potentially joining the study, please contact the PETT Study team. Email: pett@kcl.ac.uk / Twitter: @PettStudy

Inspire are pleased to be working alongside King's College London and Queen's University Belfast in the delivery of this innovative treatment trial. Inspire currently provides access to psychological therapy, counselling and associated support services to over 800,000 individuals across the UK and Ireland. This includes a board-level commitment to working with security-based organisations and we have built our specialist knowledge and reputation working in partnership for over 10 years with a range of difference veteran support organisations and groups. During this time we have developed a service offering that is safe, competent, responsive and flexible in meeting the needs of this specialist group. We are pleased to be able to collaborate with Kings College London and Queens University Belfast to explore how best we can collectively support veterans in this important treatment trial.

Background and study aims

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can affect people who have experienced a traumatic event in their life. Previous research has shown that up to 17% of UK ex-military service personnel who have recently been active in combat roles may have PTSD.

If this is left undiagnosed or untreated, PTSD can lead to hospitalisation, unemployment and poverty and can put a strain on family relationships. This study aims to investigate whether 60 military veterans in Northern Ireland will join the study and be happy to be randomly allocated to either of our two therapy treatments: Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF-CBT). It aims to find out if veterans will complete treatment and fill in the research questionnaires throughout the study.

Another aim is to develop procedures to ensure veterans are safe when having either treatment. All the information will be collected and analysed to help to set up a larger trial to see whether RTM should be offered as a routine treatment for PTSD.

Who can participate?

Participants can be men or women, 18 years or older, who live or work in Northern Ireland. They will be UK military veterans of the Army, Royal Air Force or Royal Navy who have received a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by one of the study’s clinical psychologists at the charity Inspire’s offices in Belfast.

What does the study involve?

Participants will complete a short screening questionnaire for PTSD with the study researchers, if scores show that they may have PSTD they will be invited to join the study and complete baseline questionnaires. Participants will then have an assessment with an experienced clinical psychologist who works at Inspire to confirm whether they have PTSD and are eligible for the study. If eligible, they will then be randomly allocated to one of two therapy groups:

- Group 1 will receive RTM. This involves up to five weekly treatment sessions with each treatment session lasting up to 90 minutes.

- Group 2 will receive TF-CBT. This involves up to 18 weekly treatment sessions, each lasting up to 1 hour.

In addition to the therapy, participants will be asked to complete questionnaires at 6, 12, 20 and 52 weeks after randomisation. This can be done in person, over the phone or online. When the treatment has ended, 15 to 20 of the participants will be invited to have an interview with a researcher to see what they thought about taking part in the study and the treatment they received.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?

By taking part in the study, the PTSD symptoms of the participants may get better and they may be contributing to future improvements in treatments offered to veterans suffering from the same condition.

However, all talking therapies require people to talk about a problem and this can be uncomfortable or upsetting. They may uncover unpleasant memories of an event that had been forgotten. TF-CBT is known to be effective in reducing or removing the symptoms of PTSD. In contrast, it is not known if RTM may lead to increased symptoms of PTSD. This research will help answer that question.

Where is the study run from?

The recruitment and assessment of participants will take place via the PETT Study research team and Inspire, with therapy sessions being delivered at the Inspire therapist’s office.

Click here to Meet the Team.

This study has been funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), a £35 million funding scheme run by the FiMT using an endowment awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Want to learn how to thrive in college or university?